News

Spring 2018

Audubon Pennsylvania's Healthy Forest Program

The forests of Pennsylvania are critical to many neotropical migratory birds, which migrate thousands of miles from Central and South America and the Caribbean to breed in the state's forests. Pennsylvania is home to significant proportions of the global populations of Wood Thrushes and Scarlet Tanagers, to take two important examples. The North American Bird Conservation Initiative refers to these birds as "responsibility species," meaning that we in Pennsylvania are responsible for looking out for their future because our forests are the core of their breeding range.

Bright red male Scarlet Tanagers return to Pennsylvania in late April and early May, just as trees are beginning to leaf out. Females, which are greenish yellow, arrive some days later. The male's song, which fills the treetops in spring, reminded Roger Tory Peterson of “a robin with a sore

throat.” Scarlet Tanagers have been reported from every county in Pennsylvania, but are most commonly found in the mountains of the central and western parts of the state. It is estimated that at least 13 percent of all of the breeding pairs of Scarlet Tanagers in the world nest in Pennsylvania, making our state extremely important for the survival of this gorgeous, beloved species.

Audubon Pennsylvania’s Healthy Forests program is working to protect and enhance the breeding habitat for Scarlet Tanagers and other forest nesting birds. Working with private landowners and foresters, collectively we are creating healthy, resilient forests that support birds and other wildlife, provide critical ecosystem services, and create economic and recreational opportunities for people.

Exciting news for the Delaware River Watershed!

We have exciting news to share! Audubon Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the National Audubon Society policy team, has received a grant from the William Penn Foundation to provide education and outreach to build long-term public support for protecting the Delaware River Basin, and to inform stakeholders about the benefits of restoring the watershed. Working with our partners in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, Audubon Pennsylvania will mobilize our broad network of chapters, members and the general public to support the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, and to create a lasting, grassroots constituency for the basin to ensure its long-term health. 

The Delaware River Basin encompasses 12,800 square miles and covers four states (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware). Its headwaters originate in the Catskill Mountains and eventually flow into the Delaware Bay and then the Atlantic Ocean. It has 216 tributaries, totaling an estimated 14,057 miles. The watershed provides critical nesting and stopover habitat for thousands of birds, from songbirds that nest in the forested headwaters to the shorebirds that rely on the beaches along the Delaware Bay during their migration and for nesting success.

It's home not only to birds, but to more than 4 million people as well. It provides clean drinking water to 15 million people -- roughly 6 percent of the U.S. population. By collaborating with partners, we are working to reconnect communities with this critically important watershed and sustain it into the future for people and wildlife.

Birds and Climate Change in Our National Parks

The Future of Birds in our National Parks, a newly released peer-reviewed Audubon study examines how climate change is affecting birds in America’s National Parks, and forecasts how they’ll fare in the decades ahead. Findings show that “National Parks will be increasingly critical sanctuaries for birds seeking suitable climate in new places,” which underscores the important role that federal funding in the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program play in helping birds adapt to climate change. The LWCF has protected birds and the places they need for more than 50 years and the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program supports projects that protect habitat and clean water throughout the Delaware River Basin.

Audubon Pennsylvania is happy to report that many months of hard work by passionate advocates like you have paid off, and funds needed to implement the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program were included in the $1.3 trillion spending package passed last month.

Let’s build on our success! To become a champion for birds, please join Audubon Pennsylvania for an Audubon Ambassador Training on Saturday, April 14th from 9:30-12:30 pm. This is an opportunity to learn more about the impact of a changing climate on birds; hone your advocacy skills; and be empowered to lead others. Please contact Valerie Peckham at vpeckham@audubon.org for more details, or to register to attend.

Bird Town Summit: Flocking Together to Share, Learn and Bird

New Britain Borough Bird Town hosted the annual Bird Town Summit on March 17th. Representatives from thirteen Bird Towns and all four regional chapters spent the day sharing successes and learning from each other. There were a variety of presentations and discussions including an overview of Audubon Pennsylvania’s strategic plan and discussions of opportunities for Bird Town engagement in Audubon Pennsylvania’s Climate Action Circles. 

Also, Steven Saffier, Program Manager, discussed greater chapter integration and how chapters have and can continue to grow their involvement in Bird Towns. The Plants for Birds database was highlighted as a vehicle for chapters to adopt Bird-Friendly Communities outreach efforts and a tool for attracting a vibrant and diverse new audience to Audubon. 

The meeting ended with “Bird Town Brags,” which allowed each Bird Town leaders to share highlights from 2017 and key projects for 2018. There were too many highlights to share them all, but a few included successfully passing native plant ordinances; the creation of a pop-up park program that included native plant sales; and the development of new partnerships with faith-based institution to develop bird-friendly campuses.

Following the meeting, Tom Price of the borough’s Bird Town Committee led a bird walk at nearby Pine Run Reservoir in search of the Sandhill Cranes that were recently seen there. No cranes on this day, but the promising presence of Eastern Meadowlark!  (For the record, the cranes were indeed seen the next day at the reservoir).

Drawn From Nature: Annual Juried Art Show

If it is April, it must be the Juried Art Show and Sale DRAWN FROM NATURE at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. This annual event, in its 12th year, is a collaboration between the Valley Forge Audubon Society and the John James Audubon Center. The theme is taken from the phrase Drawn From Nature that John James Audubon inscribed on his work – only fitting that we use his words for a show on the hallowed grounds where the youthful Audubon developed his love of birds and drawing. The show attracts nature-inspired artists from the region and beyond; we were delighted by the unprecedented number of submissions we received this year. The Juror of Selection, Cheryl Hochberg, Professor of Art at Kutztown University, had a daunting task to review the record number of entries. Juror of Awards, Bruce Hoffman, Director of the Gravers Lane Art Gallery in Chestnut Hill, also had a challenge choosing the 23 award winners. We are delighted to present more than 200 artworks, all inspired by nature, by more than 175 artists in many mediums and all of them in celebration of nature.

Unframed works will also be available (bargains to be had!) and small sculptures by award winners and those with a proven sales record in the last three shows. Look for these items in the black bins.

Special events in conjunction with the show are:

April 2 – April 28: Sneak Peek: View the artwork and purchase through our online sale site http://squ.re/1btSEzi. Artwork purchased online or at the show will be available for pickup on April 29.

Friday, April 13, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Artists Reception and Awards Ceremony. Open to the public, $10/pp or $15/two. This is an event not to be missed - interact with the artists and enjoy delicious food and drink. Tickets available at the door.

Saturday, April 14, 10 – 11 am. Gallery Tour and Coffee with Bruce Hoffman, Juror of Awards. Continental Breakfast. $5 at the door.

Saturday, April 14 – Sunday, April 28: Show open to the public. FREE. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm. Sunday, 1 – 4 pm. All ages Art Hunt is a fun way to engage with the artwork in Drawn From Nature and in the Historic House. Completed entries are entered into a drawing for prizes. FREE

Our Voice for Birds—More Important than Ever

Greetings, and Happy Spring!

This Spring certainly has seemed to take a long time to arrive all across Pennsylvania, with a topsy-turvy March and a cold and snowy start to April. But in the avian world, the signs of Spring are clear, with the sights and sounds of favorite species beginning to fill our forests, meadows, waterways, backyards and balconies. 

And while these last several months have seen new political threats to long-standing, bi-partisan conservation pillars, like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the latest federal budget agreement carried good news for birds and those who care for them in Pennsylvania and across the country.

We are particularly pleased that our federal representatives on both sides of the aisle made sure that the budget bill includes, for the first time ever, a federal allocation to support projects that protect and restore the Delaware River watershed. This watershed is essential habitat for dozens of critical bird species, provides recreational and economic development opportunities for residents of Pennsylvania and three other states, and drinking water for millions of people.  We will work now to make sure that this $5 million down payment is the first of many needed investments in this vital watershed. This work aligns with Audubon’s strategic focus on clean water as one of the essential pillars of a healthy environment for birds, people and the entire planet. 

But even with this exciting victory in hand, we must be vigilant—and vocal—in our efforts to protect birds and the places they need.  Our combined voice—roughly 50,000 Audubon members across Pennsylvania—is needed to defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and numerous efforts at the state and local levels that promote a healthy environment for all. That is exactly why Audubon, National Geographic and Cornell have dubbed 2018 the Year of the Bird—to keep the focus on birds and the pressure on our elected officials. 

As always, Audubon is animated by its vast and diverse grassroots membership, sound science, balanced policy, and strong partnerships. These principals underlie our recent collaboration with the National Park Service in a study that demonstrates in great detail the impact of climate change on dozens of critical species that rely on these great places all across our nation. 

Thank you for your commitment to Audubon’s vital work.  Now, more than ever, is the time to recommit to Audubon and its mission. This Spring, bring a friend who is not a member to your local chapter gathering. This Spring, take a friend who doesn’t own binoculars to your favorite birding spot, and share your pair. This Spring, let your representatives know that you are paying attention to the impact of their actions on birds and the environment.

How you can help, right now